Without words

Police chief Matthew Nestor said it looked like a “street fight that went wrong.” And Colin Walsh’s attorney said “I think any time there’s a fight, and any time you have one ethnic group fighting another, there’s going to be racial slurs. I’ve seen that since I was a kid on a playground 20 years ago, but they never called it ethnic intimidation until very recently.”

Borough Manager Joseph Palubinsky is quoted as saying “I have reason to know the kids who were involved, the families who were involved, and I’ve never known them to harbor this type of feeling.”

They were honor students. White teenagers. Star football players. And now they are charged with murder.

And Luis Ramirez is dead. He was beaten and kicked in the head by six of them. Reportedly he was bleeding from the mouth at the scene. He went into a coma and died two days later.

It took ten days before the suspects were charged. This despite the fact an eyewitness provided the police with their names on the day Ramirez was attacked. They were “good boys,” you see. The comments following some of the articles about Ramirez’s murder say that their lives shouldn’t be ruined over this and they didn’t mean to do it and I know them and they aren’t racist and well he deserved it anyway, he was an illegal.

Piekarsky and Walsh will petition to be tried as juveniles on August 26. Piekarski is 16 and Walsh is 17.

Frequent commenter more cowbell sums it up on her blog:

In the end though, it comes down to the fact that people were justifying murder of a human being, because they disapproved of him being in the US. A man was killed by some angry racist teenagers with Town Hero complexes, and the biggest discussion point was the dead man’s immigration status. There’s something very very wrong with that.

The Ramirez murder and the frequent justification offered that he was illegal, so he deserved it, is chilling. For one, I seriously Brandon Piekarsky, Derrick Donchak and Colin Walsh requested proof of status before murdering him. So Ramirez’s race apparently is confounded with his undocumented status and therefore he deserved to die. Read the comment boards–he is just one of those “illegals” sucking up our resources and taking our jobs and as such the murder was justified.

Like Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, Ramirez became the enemy. Chin was murdered because he was believed to be a “J*p” who was taking jobs away from Americans. Whether or not Chin or Ramirez were actually citizens is irrelevant. And this is the scary thing about being brown in America–it doesn’t matter who you are individually if white people see you as being part of a guilty group. No wonder my parents continually harped on how my behavior had to be exemplary. This is something people of color have always known–that what one of us does affects us all.

Additionally, the way such cases are treated sends a strong message about whose lives have value and whose lives do not. Undoubtedly the attorneys of the young men who murdered Luis Ramirez will argue that these are boys who deserve a chance. Boys who made a mistake. Boys who are honor students and who don’t deserve to go to jail for an extended period of time. (In some states, juveniles are only held until they are 21, after which they are released.)

In the case of Vincent Chin, Michael Nitz and Ronald Ebens bludgeoned him to death with a baseball bat. They were each fined $3,000 for the murder. Wayne County Circuit Judge Charles Kaufman stated, “These weren’t the kind of men you send to jail … You don’t make the punishment fit the crime; you make the punishment fit the criminal.”

I hope the judge in this case remembers that a man was murdered. And that he was a father and somebody loved him.

4 thoughts on “Without words

  1. The behavior of the young men here in inexcusable. In addition to their horrendous irresponsibility, this situation illustrates the effect of skewed ideas that dominate sectors of America. The “leaders” that irresponsibly label people as “illegal” AND insist that such a label carries with it a limitation of human rights should not be appalled at the success of their skewed message. But they should remember that in surrendering the human rights of any one person they have opened the gates for the violation of their own rights. The sad thing is that such people do not see this dreadful consequence until those similar to them, those close to them, are attacked, and in September 11.

    Resistance put it aptly, this does leave one speechless.

  2. Yes, yes and yes. I went to a small community forum on immigration recently, and most of the white folks there were of that particular Very Nice Pacific Northwest Liberal variety, and even with that, I was surprised (yeah, I know…) by how strongly these Nice People felt about immigration, even after seeing the documentary which gave info about the role US corporations play in our “immigration problem”, with their corporate colonization in other folks’ countries. I shudder to think how that forum would’ve gone over in my hometown. Anyway, it’s scary how angry people get over this issue, and it seems to be getting worse.

    And this is the scary thing about being brown in America–it doesn’t matter who you are individually if white people see you as being part of a guilty group. No wonder my parents continually harped on how my behavior had to be exemplary. This is something people of color have always known–that what one of us does affects us all.

    Yep…

  3. Wow… there are no words. So now a valid excuse for murder is that the victim committed a MISDEMEANOR by being in this country illegally (and we don’t even know if this was the case). Would these kids have murdered someone because he was guilty of marijuana possession or petty theft? I can’t believe people are saying that they’re “good boys” and that the victim “deserved it”. I’m pretty sure these were not “good boys”, and they probably have histories of violent behavior and racism. Let’s hope they get put away for life.

  4. This whole entry, and the comments that go along with it touched me. Like, seriously, I’ve never cried over an online article before now. God, what is wrong with our world?? It’s depressing to think that children are being raised in hateful, racist societies like this

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